Peace Literacy and Alternatives to Violence

By |2019-07-02T11:15:09-07:00July 2, 2019|

On May 26, NAPF Peace Literacy Director Paul K. Chappell gave the keynote address to more than 140 AVP volunteers including training facilitators at Mills College in Oakland, California. Paul was invited by Toby Laverty, Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) US Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator for the National Gathering, to share his “wisdom and experience” as an advocate for a peaceful revolution. Chappell drew on his multi-racial background as a West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran, and his growing up in a violent home.

Originally founded by the Quakers based on their belief in an inborn power of peace in everyone, AVP works in prisons, schools, and community settings with participants and trainers from all backgrounds in 33 states and 45 countries.

Paul was recommended by Terry Kayser, a Minnesota volunteer with AVP who has worked with veterans in correctional institutions. When a local veteran gave him Paul’s 28 page booklet: “A New Peace Paradigm: Our Human Needs and the Tangles of Trauma,” Kayser read it carefully. As he started to understand the revolutionary nature of “the tangles of trauma” framework, he began to see how the Alternatives to Violence Project worked to change lives as the volunteers helped participants understand their basic human needs as identified by Paul.

Kayser said, “Paul’s good ideas blended in nicely with what we do.”

Steven Gelb, professor at the University of San Diego and workshop facilitator for Alternatives to Violence Project/California, reported, “Paul Chappell received a heartfelt, standing ovation at the conclusion of his keynote speech to participants at the AVP USA conference in Oakland. His compellingly original synthesis of the role of meaning and purpose as foundational to both peace work and conflict was immensely helpful to this audience of experienced peace educators.”

Chappell explained that the frameworks of Peace Literacy offer a new understanding of aggression, rage, and trauma and how Peace Literacy skills can be used at school, at work, and with family, friends, and those we do not yet know. Peace Literacy also offers radical empathy, vision, and realistic hope.

Gelb summed up Chappell’s contribution. “One participant seemed to speak for the whole when she said afterward that ‘this talk made my whole weekend!’”

For more information on the work of Paul K. Chappell, visit

To download “A New Peace Paradigm: Our Human Needs and the Tangles of Trauma,” click here.

To learn more about Alternatives to Violence Project, visit